Carmen Electra Deals Ceremonial First Hand At Foxwoods - Saturday 25th of March 2006
By Ryan McLane
Dozens of poker faces went from serious to smiles as players at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino's new World Poker Tour branded poker room put aside their chips to watch Carmen Electra stroll down the red carpet on March 23.
Electra was the centerpiece of a star-studded event that opened the new room and sealed the firm bond between Foxwoods and the WPT.
Always the ambassador, Mike Sexton was the first celebrity to arrive and the first person to toast the new union with a flute full of champagne.
"This is all very exciting," Sexton said. "It's only fitting that Foxwoods would open the first official WPT Poker Room considering they are kind of the ones who kicked it all off. Foxwoods was the first casino to sign on for a World Poker Tour event."
Foxwoods invited celebrities and members of the media to their new poker room on Thursday to help promote an expansion that includes 114 new tables, state-of-the-art technology, and the World Poker Tour's official seal.
The new poker room was so busy on its official opening day that many players never even knew there was a celebrity poker tournament running. One reporter joked some of the players might actually think that Mike Sexton's voice plays in the room as a part of the new World Poker Tour set-up.
After Electra sat for obligatory interviews with television camera crews covering the event, she delighted the crowd by walking the red carpet and posing for the dozens of photographers clamoring for the perfect shot.
Taking her place next to Sexton at the tournament table, Electra took up the cards and prepared to deal the ceremonial first hand in the new poker room. Admitting she knew very little about dealing, Electra performed her task slowly, posing for pictures after every card fell.
The slow deal was a source of amusement for many. Sexton commented this was the first time in poker history that the players really didn't mind having a slow dealer.
"It was definitely fun, but I was so nervous because everyone was watching and taking pictures," Electra said. "I have to be the slowest dealer on the planet."
Once the historic first hand was complete, invited media members from popular magazines like For Him Magazine (FHM), In-Style and People sat down to play a 10-hand tournament for $25,000. All proceeds went to the winning player's chosen charity.
Included in the group was Lisa Gastineau, star of E! Entertainment Network's "The Gastineau Girls". Playing in her first poker tournament, Gastineau's red carpet smiles and poses turned into a stern poker stare as she tried her best for the American Cancer Society. She played tight and made the final four, but busted out after getting outdrawn on her final all-in attempt.
"It was really thrilling," Gastineau said. "I think I was bitten by the poker bug. This is absolutely something I would do again."
Scott Kritz, Online Editor-In-Chief of FHM, won the top prize after surviving a multi-player all-in battle in the tournament's final hand. A check for $25,000 was presented to the winner in the Metz Ultra Lounge, where he posed for pictures with Electra and Gastineau and enjoyed the after party.
After the celebrities left the poker room for the Metz, it was business as usual for the poker players at Foxwoods. With hundreds trying to qualify for the April 6th $10,000 No-Limit Hold'Em Championship, the poker room remained busy well into the night.
For Sexton, poker ambassador and official WPT spokesperson, the large crowd of focused poker players at Foxwoods came as no surprise. He predicts there will be more red carpet events like this one as other casinos look to capitalize on the World Poker Tour brand name.
"I've been to nearly every major poker room in the world and I'll have to tell you that I'm amazed at what they've done here," Sexton said. "This poker room is certainly larger than any other in the country. Foxwoods not only competes with, but also probably surpasses any poker room I've ever seen."
During Carmen Electra's entrance, one spectator yelled to her and asked if she'd accompany him to the blackjack table for a "bit of luck." She smiled at the remark and acknowledged the heckler, but of course denied the request.
There are very few things funnier in this world than watching professional celebrity photographers at work. Much to the annoyance of the gathered crowd, one photographer would not stop yelling at Electra to "look left" for his camera. Another photographer who was a bit more smooth, calmly said "and Carmen over here please." She obeyed his mental command and as he snapped the picture he let out a definitive "yeeesss." I quickly surmised I was in the presence of a master. I was correct. He repeated the maneuver at the after party with similar success. That guy rocked.
At the after party, a man who came to snap a picture with his cell phone jumped into the wave of photographers and got an excellent shot of her with her $3000 martini. (The Metz offers this martini. It comes with a diamond encrusted stirrer and a set of emerald earrings). He quickly ran back to his buddy to show off his shot. His buddy said, "Yeah, I bet your wife will love that one." The photographer thought for a moment and then decided to ditch the candid.
One player at a tournament table commented he thought he saw Carmen Electra earlier in the day. Another man responded, telling him that he was an after-party VIP guest, but disappointingly, never got to take a picture with her. He was disappointed at the missed opportunity to brag at his home game.
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